Please look over these notes before you begin. Jump to the data sources here.
Types of data
There are two main types of data you will be using. Time series data is data that has repeated observations on something such as a country or region over time - for example, Canada's GDP annually. Cross-sectional data is data on multiple units at the same time - for example, a survey where 500 people were asked the same questions, or the population of 100 countries in 2003.
How many observations
You need many observations to conduct an analysis. For a bivariate analysis (an analysis with two variables where you use one variable to predict the other) 30 observations may be enough. 20 is iffy, 10 ridiculous.
With annual time series data it can be difficult to get enough observations - many time series don't go back more than 20 years or so. However, some time series are available monthly, giving you 120 observations in 10 years, which is plenty. With cross-sectional data you need enough units - data on Canada's 10 provinces would not be enough, but data on 100 Canadian cities would.
Frequently data - particularly international data - will have missing observations.
Sometimes you can combine data from different sources to get the variables you need. With time series data you need to make sure the time periods match up. With cross-sectional data on countries or regions this can also work.
- Statistics Canada Data Portal
Time series data, on Canada and provinces: economic, elections, social and health, and environmental sources. Be careful when using this data - some series have enough observations for an analysis, others do not.
- Health Canada
Health-related topics like life expectancy, prescriptions, tobacco use, radiation monitoring, and medical trends and statistics.
- Government of Canada Open Data Portal
Openly available datasets about Government of Canada services, financials, national demographic information, high resolution maps and much more.
- Ontario Open Data Catalogue
Nearly 3000 datasets maintained by Ontario government agencies.
- International Environmental Performance Index 2010.
All the environmental indicators you could possibly want, by country.
- Canadian Energy Use Data from the Office of Energy Efficiency
- EPA Environmental Dataset Gateway
Air and water quality, pollutant emissions, hazardous waste, etc.
- Sunspots - Solar Influence Data Centre
Automotive, transport, related
- Car Fuel Economy Data from the U.S.Dept. of Energy
- Statistical Handbook - Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers
- Aerospace Industries Association Data
- Transport Canada - Statistics and Data
Finance and economic data
- World Bank Development Data
Data on countries: economics, living standards, health
- World Bank Doing Business - data on business density and national factors measuring the ease of starting a business
- Economagic - Economic Time Series Data (some free; some time series by subscription only)
- U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis Data
- FRED - Federal Reserve Economic Data
- Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index data - download the info package to access the data.
- Assorted Product and Management data from Dr. Bloom, Stanford.
- Offshoring and Outsourcing dataset at the UK data archive - register for access
- See also the Business and Financial Data research guide.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Expenditure Survey
- Federal Reserve Survey of Consumer Finance (includes oversample of wealthy households)
- Canadian Survey of Consumer Finances / Survey of Household Spending - access here
- Canadian Financial Capability Survey - access here
- Canadian Survey of Financial Security- access here
- Scientists and Engineers Statistical Data System
Employment, educational, and demographic characteristics of scientists and engineers in the United States.
- Sports Statistics
Links from the American Statistical Association.
- UN Office on Drugs and Crime
International statistics on drugs, organized crime, human trafficking, etc.
- Statistical Abstract of the United States
Lots of stuff on the U.S.: tax revenue, crime, sports, business and industry.
- CDC Wonder
Data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- UNSD (UN data)
Assorted international data. Includes some environmental as well as industrial, economic and population.